The "Paddling Bug", Margaret, August 2015

I have always wanted to try dragon boating. It looked like fun. I wanted to find something which was less stressful on my joints since years of running was hard on my knees. I have never been on a team sport before and was afraid I couldn't keep up. I was a little intimidated when I was paddling with some people half my age. But that is what is so amazing. The team is a diverse group, but when we are on the water, we unite together as one, regardless of age, sex or ethnicity. I admire the camaraderie, teamwork and commitment, especially on race day.

I was nervous prior to my first race at the regatta in Alameda, not knowing what to expect, how much waiting time in between heats, when to eat and not to eat too much before the next heat. I was impressed to see how organized the team was from setting up to breakdown of the tent site. After the first heat, I wasn't sure how we placed, but I was more relieved I had finished, and my nerves had settled. The regatta had prepared me mentally for Long Beach as far as what to expect during a race, but I knew LB was much more competitive.

On Day 1 at LB, again my nerves were up - Will I wake up in time? Will there be enough time to prep and eat before the first heat? When is the first heat? Will I be physically and mentally ready? Fortunately, the first heat was not until mid-day so there was plenty of time to get ready. We had only done a few heats before the race cancelled early due to heavy rain. We woke up to sunshine on Day 2 and we were pumped with both teams winning Gold medals. Woohoo!!!

My family had come to LB to cheer me on. They all had a blast. Kim is already thinking of her dance routine for the talent show next year. Regardless of the unexpected rain and thunderstorms, it didn't dampen our team spirit and passion. Winning GOLD was awesome!!! The hard work during practice paid off. I caught the "paddling bug" and love dragon boating. I am proud to be a Healer! PADDLES UP!!!